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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

We usually have 1 request ("bring a copy of the route"), but now we have several rules [discuss] :
  • do not come if you (or anyone you've been in contact with) are ill
  • social distance on the train to/from the walk, during the walk, and after the walk
  • at the start, split into groups of 6 or less
  • social distance with other walkers (and inconsiderate cyclists!) you meet, by standing aside and allowing them to pass at a safe distance
  • you must share contact information so you can be traced if necessary
Walk Posters - select "revert to legacy blogger" for now (otherwise you cannot publish future dated posts). Update. Blogger say to be fixed!

Advance Tickets Sheffield for Ladybower Trip (see below). Snowdonia trip and travel update (see below).

Fruit ripening and the last wildflower species of the year: see Nature Blog

Note:  One of our dutiful Sunday walk posters has retired after a lengthy and much appreciated tenure.....if anyone is interested in becoming a Sunday walk poster, please let us know.....

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Scotland: Roybridge

Due to current advice from the Government and BMC to stay home (and off mountains), the trip to Roybridge planned for 16 May to 23 May 2020 has been postponed to 22-29 May 2021. The trip will go ahead as originally planned at that time.
For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Monday Walk - Ladybower Inn Circular via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs or via Win Hill to Ladybower or Bamford [Ladybower Trip] [New Walk]

Length: 26.9 km (16.7 mi) [shorter and longer versions possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 660m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10

Take the 09.10 bus line 275 from Sheffield Interchange to Bakewell, arrives Ashopton, Ladybower Inn 09.38. 
Return bus to Sheffield: 18.03.

You cross Ladybower Reservoir and rise through pastures to Crook Hill to follow a grassy ridge with fine views to Win Hill and the Great Ridge, out towards the Kinder Scout and Bleaklow upland peat bog plateaus and across the Derwent Valley to Derwent Edge. At Alport Castles, the fascinating site of Britain’s longest inland landslip with its rocky pinnacles and debris, you turn down from the ridge along a good track through grouse moors into the wooded Derwent Valley and follow Howden Reservoir’s shore to cross Slippery Stones packhorse bridge into the open wild countryside of the Upper Derwent Valley.
From there, the return route follows the famous Derwent Reservoirs (Howden, Derwent and Ladybower) back towards the start with ever-changing views across the large bodies of water, partly in open country, at other times flanked by enchanting woods.

Three variations of the return route break the long, nearly flat reservoir-side walk by climbing up a hill or ridge with fantastic views and descending back to the reservoirs further along.
An Alternative Ending  from Alport Castles descends through the tranquil Alport Dale and crosses the Woodlands Valley to ascend Win Hill’s ridge with a choice of finishes, back at the Ladybower Inn or the Yorkshire Bridge Inn or at Bamford Station.

Walk Options:
Plenty ways to vary the route, see the pdf or the webpage for details.

Lunch: picnic.
Tea: The Yorkshire Bridge Inn Ashopton Road (located 300m off route, 1.6 km from the end of the Win Hill Alternative, open all day).
The Ladybower Inn  Ashopton, Hope Valley (open all day, food all day).

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.349

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Sunday Walk - Bleaklow - the great, untamed wilderness [Ladybower Trip] [New Walk]

Fairholmes Circular via Bleaklow and Derwent Head or the Westend Valley

Length: 27.3 km (16.9 mi) [shorter version possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 646m; Net Walking Time: ca. 7-8 hours
Toughness: 10 out of 10

Take the 09.00 bus line 273 from Sheffield Interchange to Castleton (calls Ashopton, Ladybower Inn 09.25), arrives Fairholmes, Derwent Dam 09.32. 
Return bus to Ladybower Inn and Sheffield: 18.36.

Quite possibly the wildest and remotest of the fully written up SWC walks, this route leads from a remote bus stop on the famous Derwent Reservoirs through woods onto a grassy boggy ridge past Alport Castles, Britain’s largest inland landslip area with its fascinating rock formations and piles of rocky debris, to one of England’s few great, untamed wildernesses: Bleaklow. Bleak by name, bleak by nature, it is famed for its extensive, wild moorland and is home to two of the three highest points in the Peak District. Despite its reputation as an endless, featureless mass of peat bogs, Bleaklow is quite magnificent though. Its contours are more rounded than Kinder's, but it is less accessible and more remote with fewer paths and features aiding navigation, basically an often-pathless wilderness – rough, boggy, quiet, wild and lonely. But it also has some picturesque gritstone rock formations, worn into shapes by wind and water and plenty of scenic river valleys running off it.
The route across Bleaklow follows the Pennine watershed across the heart of the unforgiving plateau, with wide vistas across the Dark Peak area and to the North, before descending through the very pretty Upper Derwent Valley past Howden and Derwent Reservoirs back to the start.
Note: The stretch along the large – and partly pathless – peatland plateau requires excellent navigational skills and very good stamina, as any divergence from the best line requires much higher levels of energy, due to the deep peaty groughs, some watery holes and boggy ground either side of (and sometimes on) the best route.

An Alternative Descent Route from Bleaklow Stones avoids most of the often-pathless crossing of the high moors and leads via Grinah Stones, Barrow Stones, Round Hill, Ridgewalk Moor & the Westend Valley to the road by Howden Reservoir and thence to Fairholmes. This is rated 9/10, with 24.8 km/15.4 mi distance and 581m ascent.

Lunch: picnic.
Tea: Derwent Café (a hot and cold food kiosk in the Fairholmes Visitor Centre, open to 17.30 [not guaranteed]).

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.350

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Saturday Walk - Ladybower Inn Circular via Derwent Edge and Strines [Ladybower Trip] [New Walk]

Length: 25.8 km (16.0 mi) [shorter versions possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 782m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ¾ hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10

Take the 09.10 bus line 275 from Sheffield Interchange to Bakewell, arrives Ashopton, Ladybower Inn 09.38. 
Return bus to Sheffield: 18.03.

A walk of contrasts on the Derbyshire/South Yorkshire boundary in the north east corner of the Dark Peak area of The Peak District. From the Ladybower Inn you rise in stages up to Derwent Edge, towering above the Upper Derwent Valley – with ever-improving views over the surrounding hills of the Central Dark Peak area and along Ladybower Reservoir. You then follow a clear and well-engineered path along the edge past some famous gritstone rock formations to the highest point of the walk at Back Tor and out to a magnificent viewpoint on Lost Lad hill. Derwent Head, Bleaklow and Kinder Scout dominate the views from here.
An easy gradual descent through the moors on a good track leads into Bradfield Dale to lunch in Strines, overlooking the Strines Reservoir.
Through woods and pastures you then reach the elongated Dale Dike Reservoir and loop around it through some pretty woods with views up and down dale. Rise to Boot’s Folly, a tower on a grassy ledge above Strines Reservoir, and further up Lodge Moor, and follow ancient turnpike roads (with far views) past remote farms and pastures back to a viewpoint above Ladybower Reservoir, where the morning ascent route is met. Turn left along Lead Hill and Ladybower Tor for final views to Win Hill and the Hope Valley and descend back to the Ladybower Inn.
Options to shorten the route are described, as are Alternative Endings (or Starts) in High and Low Bradfield.

Walk Options:
Plenty ways to shorten the walk, see the pdf or the webpage for details.

Lunch: The Strines Inn  Bradfield Dale (10.7 km/6., food all day).
Tea: The Ladybower Inn  Ashopton, Hope Valley (open all day, food all day).
Tea Bradfield Endings:  see the pdf or the webpage. 

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.348

Friday, 9 October 2020

Friday Walk - Sheffield to Ladybower Inn or Bamford [Ladybower Trip]

Length: 29.7 km (18.4 mi) [shorter versions possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 935/768m; Net Walking Time: ca. 7 ½ hours
Toughness: 10 out of 10

Take the 09.02 Sheffield train from St. Pancras I’nal, arrives Sheffield 11.01.
Return bus to Sheffield: 18.23 (line 276), calls Hollow Meadows, adjacent to Moscar Lodge at 18.25.
Return trains to Sheffield from Bamford: xx.42 to 20.42, then 21.41, 22.28, 23.11.

This walk leads from the centre of one of the most populous British cities through gradually less urban areas into excellent wild walking country (think ancient woodlands, tumbling streams and panoramic views) on to the rugged moorlands and dramatically sculpted gritstone outcrops (or ‘edges’) of the Peak District’s iconic Dark Peak area.

Escape from Sheffield’s City Centre, first along streets and through the atmospheric landscaped Victorian General Cemetery, then the woodlands of the municipal Endcliffe Park  and the narrow wooded PorterValley to moorlands at the edge of the Peak District for lunch at one of two pubs.
Continue through the Dark Peak area along the Yorkshire/Derbyshire boundary, characterised by rugged, desolate moorland, and the otherworldly gritstone ‘edges’, once extensively quarried for their rough, coarse stone. From Burbage Rocks to the famous Stanage Edge, the route covers a unique landscape, the greatest possible contrast to the start of the walk, before a scenic descent through lush scenery into the Hope Valley to Bamford Station.
Our Alternative Ending today follows Stanage Edge to its end and descends to a bus stop by Moscar Lodge on the A57 Manchester Road and then continues to the Ladybower Reservoir and its Inn for a longer stay in the area.

Walk Options:
Buses at the start (from Sheffield Interchange) can cut the route by up to 6.2 km, see the pdf for details.
Finish the walk along its normal route in Bamford at the train station (25.5 km/15.9 mi with 760/663m ascent/descent, 9/10).
An Alternative Start from Grindleford Station (up Padley Gorge to The Fox House Inn) cuts 10.1 km/6.3 mi.
You can shorten the walk around lunch at The Fox House Inn, cutting 2.9 km/1.8 mi and 165m ascent/descent (lunch would need to be in Ringinglow, or a picnic), this is rated 8/10.
To terminate the walk after lunch at the recommended lunch stop The Fox House Inn, take Buses 271/272 to Sheffield or Bamford stations (hourly during the day).
An Alternative Route between the Fox House Inn and Burbage Bridge, via Carl Wark and Higger Tor, is described.
Finish at Moscar Lodge bus stop on the A57: 24.7 km/15.4 mi [you’d have to hitch-hike to Ladybower or Sheffield though, as there are no late afternoon buses on weekdays].

Forge Dam Café (Forge Dam, Sheffield, 7.0 km/4.4 mi, open 09.30-17.00);  
The Norfolk Arms  (Ringinglow, 9.2 km/5.7 mi, open all day, food served all day);
The Fox House Inn (Longshaw, 13.7 km/8.5 mi, open 12.00-23.00, food served 12.00-22.00).
Tea Bamford Ending: The Anglers Rest Bamford (open all day, fish & chips from 17.00).
Tea Ladybower Ending: The Ladybower Inn  Ashopton, Hope Valley (open all day, food all day).

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.266.c

Ladybower Trip: to the back of beyond (09-12 October)

Up to 4 days of walking in the Upper Derwent Valley, while avoiding travel on the weekend:

09/10 Friday to 12/10 Monday 
(likely in below order, train and bus times as per the current schedule and prone to update nearer the time)

09/10 Friday – SWC 266c Sheffield to Ladybower Inn via Burbage Rocks and Stanage Edge [09.02 train from St. Pancras, arrives Sheffield 11.00]
10/10 Saturday – SWC 348 Ladybower Inn Circular via Derwent Edge and Strines [10.30 bus line 273 from Sheffield, arrives Ladybower Inn 11.04; rtn buses at 16.30 and 18.45, arriving Sheffield 17.05 and 19.15]; pub lunch at the Strines Inn
11/10 Sunday – SWC 350 Fairholmes Circular via Bleaklow and Derwent Head [09.00 bus line 273 from Sheffield, stops Ladybower Inn 09.25, arrives Fairholmes 09.32; rtn bus at 18.34, arrives Sheffield 19.11]
12/10 Monday – SWC 349 Ladybower Inn Circular via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs or Win Hill [08.00 bus line 274 from Sheffield, arrives Ladybower Inn 08.34; rtn buses at 16.30 and 18.45, arriving Sheffield 17.05 and 19.15]; the Win Hill variant can be finished at Bamford station to catch a train to London there. 

-      with a car: stay anywhere in the area;
-      while relying on buses: Ladybower Inn, Yorkshire Bridge Inn (10 mins walk away), in Sheffield or anywhere along bus routes 273/274 between Sheffield and Ladybower, but not in the Hope Valley.

The walk’s start times will be based on the 273/274 buses from Sheffield having arrived at Ladybower/Fairholmes respectively.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Wednesday walk Hassocks to Brighton - up and over the South Downs to Stanmer Park, then on to Brighton via Falmer and Kemp Town racecourse

SWC 50 - Hassocks to Brighton

Length: 22.5 km (14 miles). If concluding the walk in Falmer, 12 km (7.5 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10  (6 out of 10 for short walk)

Car drivers: park up in Hassocks, close to the railway station.

For those comfortable using public transport in these Covid times, your recommended train is:

London Victoria: 10-15 hrs       Southern service to Littlehampton   CJ 10-22 hrs,  EC 10-33 hrs
Arrive Hassocks: 11-12 hrs

Return: Brighton to Victoria: 09 and 39 mins past the hour
             Brighton to Hassocks: direct trains at 25 and 55 mins past the hour
             Falmer to Brighton: 6 trains an hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Brighton

This is a little gem of a walk and is different from walking the ridge of the South Downs (unless you take the alternative start) as the walk traverses north to south, up, over and down the Downs, exploring hidden valleys, woods, open access land and parkland. You have a choice of start: the main walk takes you through the pretty village of Ditchling before you head for the base of the South Downs, for a steep ascent to the top. The alternative start takes you past the two windmills - Jack and Jill - before a slightly less steep climb up to the ridge of the Downs, which you then follow, enjoying lovely panoramic views on either side, before you re-join the main route from Ditchling. You now descend to the village of Stanmer, where you can purchase a takeaway from the Stanmer Tea Rooms. Onwards through Stanmer Park and the extensive grounds of Sussex University towards the village of Falmer - cut in half by the ugly A27 road - where you find on its north side the suggested lunch pub, the homely, non-pretentious Swan Inn. Check to see if they have resumed serving food after their long lockdown.
After the Swan Inn, you continue your walk through the prettier southern section of Falmer, then you go past the Amex Football stadium (home of Brighton and Hove Albion FC). You can conclude your walk in Falmer by taking the train from the local station to Brighton. But the main walk continues on an undulating way over fields then down to the village of Bevenden. Climb up a path and you now walk through Kemp Town Racecourse, along the length of the course and past the grandstand.  At the far end of the course you find a woodland path which drops down cleverly into Brighton, close to Brighton College. You now choose your route along the seafront into the centre of Town. You are spoilt for choice for a tea stop in town.
Walk Directions are here: L=swc.50

Friday, 25 September 2020

September in Snowdonia (25-28 September)

26/7/20 Update:

At long last the Snowdonia trip is in the not too distant present it all seems full steam ahead, as Wales has begun reopening....Fingers crossed that further progress is made between now and September.....

I have been monitoring the train ticket situation and unfortunately Avanti West Coast has NOT offered any Advance Tickets for this route on the relevant dates.  Although they do not seem to participate in National Rail's Groupsave ticketing scheme, they do offer a 20% discount on tickets purchased for groups of 3-9 (see on pre-specified trains.  Having reviewed the train schedule, I would suggest the following:

Depart: London Euston Friday 25 September 9:10 AM, arriving Bangor 12:19
Return:  Bangor Monday 28 September 18:17 -- last train with sensible travel time

If interested in group travel, please let me know. 

I will also add that it looks like the bus service has been reduced somewhat radically.  Bus 5C which runs from just outside the Bangor train station to Caernarfon (where you catch bus S4 to Beddgelert (also reduced)) current runs only on an hourly basis.....which of course does not connect with the train.....So for those traveling on the recommended trains, I would suggest we share some taxis which will have the benefit of being faster...and likely not much more than the bus fare once shared among the group....

Proposed Program (weather permitting):

Friday:  Following arrival and dropping off bags, re-group about 1:30 PM for afternoon walk up local mountain -- Moel Hebog (Hill of the Hawk), providing great views of the weekend in store...

Saturday:  Snowdon circuit/traverse -- various options some swimming ops....

Sunday:  Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen area outing...scrambling and swimming ops....

Monday:  Nantlle Ridge from Rhyd Ddu....not far from home base with various options available....

This is just to whet the appetite...more details to follow (plus some GPX files)....please either have printed maps for these areas or purchase OS Map OL17 which covers all of these routes...As mentioned before, these will all be map-led walks....

More updates to follow.....


As a first, the SWC will be making a long weekend excursion to Snowdonia, North Wales. The weekend will be based in Beddgelert, a charming village in the shadow of Snowdon with immediate access to some interesting hills. The routes will be map-led and as with the Scottish trips one needs to come prepared for high mountain terrain and the risks associated with it.

Beddgelert is accessible by public transportation -- train to Bangor and bus. Accommodation in the village is available in various pubs, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. For further information, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Wednesday walk Gerrards Cross to Cookham - Bulstrode Park, Burnham Beeches, the River Thames - and Sir Stanley Spencer

Book 1 Walk 4- - Gerrards Cross to Cookham

Length: 15.4 km (9.6 miles)  Options to extend at walk-end - by 3.5 miles to Marlow, or 4 miles to Maidenhead
Toughness: 2 out of 10     4 out of 10 if going long

Car drivers - sorry, this walk does not work for you.

For those of you comfortable using public transport in Covid times, your recommended train is:

London Marylebone:  10-13 hrs     Chilterns service to Aylesbury
Arrive Gerrards Cross:  10-32 hrs


Cookham to Paddington, changing at Maidenhead: 16-15, 17-32, 18-03, 18-38 and 19-08 hrs
Marlow to Paddington, changing at Bourne End and at Maidenhead: 17-18, 17-47, 18-24 and 18-54 hrs
Maidenhead to Paddington: direct trains at 17-05, 17-16, 17-24, 17-35, 17-46, 18-05, 18-18, 18-25, 18-35, 18-46 and 18-57 hrs

Rail ticket:  as the rail termini serve different railway companies you will need separate single tickets today, making use of your travelcard where appropriate. This minor inconvenience is the trade-off for an outward journey of only 19 mins

Today's walk after a very short outward train journey starts over Bulstrode Park, then past woods and lakes to the village of Hedgerley before you continue through Egypt Wood and Burnham Beeches. Onwards then to Littleworth Common, where you have a choice of two good pubs for your lunch stop, at either end of the Common - The Jolly Woodman - and the Blackwood Arms. Best you 'phone ahead with numbers to reserve a place.
After lunch you walk through more woods and along field edges then downhill through Woolman's Wood on the Beeches Way path as you finally pass through a residential development to come out beside the River Thames. It's a short walk then to cross the Cookham Town bridge to enter Cookham. On your left you will come to the Stanley Spencer Gallery - worth a brief visit if still open , then the two main pubs for a post-walk drink - The Bel and the Dragon, and The Kings Arms.
If the weather remains fine as you enter Cookham, and you still have energy to burn, you have a choice of two excellent and enjoyable walk extensions, in either direction from Cookham. The walk to Maidenhead is along a riverside path, initially with fine views on the others side of the river of Cliveden, a country house which will always be associated with the Profumo affair in 1963.  The walk over meadows and fields to Marlow is equally enjoyable and - best I know - free of fruity associations.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.40

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Wednesday walk Harpenden to St Albans - a Hertfordshire Town and a Hertfordshire City linked by commons, parkland and a new woodland forest

SWC 351 - Harpenden to St Albans

Length: 18.65 km (11.6 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

Car drivers: Harpenden is one stop up the line from St Albans City station. Probably easier to park in Harpenden, close to the railway station.

For those comfortable using public transport during Covid times, your recommended train is:

Thameslink service, from Brighton to Bedford, with stops at:

East Croydon: 09-51 hrs
London Bridge: 10-05 hrs
St Pancras: 10-21 hrs
St Albans City: 10-41 hrs
Harpenden: 10-47 hrs

Return: St Albans City to St Pancras and beyond: up to 8 fast trains an hour, plus stopping trains
             St Albans City back to Harpenden: 8 an hour
             St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction: 16-54, 17-45 and 18-32 hrs

Rail ticket:  Buy a day return to Harpenden. Note: if you opt to return from St Albans Abbey station (with its much nicer approach walk) you will need separate single tickets for your two rail journeys today.

The two previous attempts to post this new walk from Elsa on a Wednesday were thwarted (1. Not enough daylight, and 2. Coronavirus lockdown) so let's hope it's third time lucky.  Saturday walkers gave this walk its inaugural outing a couple of months ago, but not many showed up. So I am hoping for a larger audience today to appreciate what is an excellent new walk with variety, views and a stretch through a brand new woodland forest - Heartwood. All is explained in the Prelude to the Directions found here: L=swc.351
Lunch is taken today in the village of Sandridge where you are spoilt for choice - 3 good pubs (all should be open for lunch today) and a popular Tearoom adjacent to the village stores where you can purchase provisions for a picnic.
The afternoon takes you along a leg of the Hertfordshire Way before you walk through the Childwickbury country estate, then down over fields into St Albans. If you have time you can explore  some of the sights in this historic city, including the Abbey if still open.
Recommended !

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Wednesday walk Otford Circular Walk via Romney Street - with Shoreham and the Darent Valley

Book 1 Walk 43 - Otford Circular via Romney Street

Length: 12.0km (7.5 miles)
Toughness: 5 plus out of 10      a good incline at walk-start, then it's easier going

Car drivers: there is a large car park immediately outside the railway station.

For those of you comfortable using public transport in these Covid times, your recommended train is:

London Victoria: 10-25 hrs     South-Eastern Canterbury West service      Bromley South 10-42 hrs
Arrive Otford: 10-59 hrs

Return  direct trains back to Victoria at 26 and 56 mins past the hour.  Also trains, changing at Bromley South,  at 29 and 59 mins past the hour

A nice short walk today, but one with an energetic start as you climb out of Otford up into the woods. Thereafter, the going for the remainder of the day is easy going, through pleasant countryside.
The original lunch pub mid-way into this walk at Romney Street closed down many moons ago, so lunch is deferred until you have seventy five percent of the walk under your belt - in the village of Shoreham. Here you have a choice of four pubs, all very acceptable, and most if not all should be open for your custom today. I usually stop at the Kings Arms, which serves good, honest pub grub. The two tea rooms in the village may be closed today.
After lunch you return to Otford via the Darent Valley path through a golf course then over fields back into the village. You have a choice of tea stops and a number of pubs in Otford for post-walk refreshments before you head along a path to the side of the Church of St Bartholomew which takes you to Otford railway station, for your return journey back to London - or to be reacquainted with your car in the station car park.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.43

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Sunday Walk - Undulating Somerset: Bruton Circular via Stourhead (2nd attempt after an earlier lockdown-cancellation) [New Walk]

Length: 22.7 km (14.1 mi) [Longer Walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 456m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours, Toughness: 7 out of 10 

Take the 08.51 Penzance train from Paddington (Reading 09.15), change at Westbury onto the Weymouth train (10.03/10.21), arriving Bruton 10.43.
From Ealing B’way there is the 08.37 to Reading with a tight connection (09.12/09.15) or the earlier 08.11 train, but it’s probably best to go via Paddington (08.23-08.35).

Return trains:
17.18 – change Bath Spa (18.03/18.13), arrives Paddington 19.38;
19.12 – change Westbury (19.33/19.54), arrives Paddington 21.09;
21.19 – change Westbury (21.41/21.58), arrives Paddington 23.37.

Buy a Bruton (Somerset) return. Cheap Advance Tickets are not yet on sale though. Off Peak Returns are £57.60 at full price…
Note: Bruton is outside the Network Southeast, so Network Railcard users should buy a discounted Reading Return with the Railcard, and a separate Reading – Bruton Day Return.

This excursion is centred on the small remote Somerset town of Bruton, with its honey-coloured stone-built cottages, a large dovecote on a mound overlooking the townscape and a fine selection of tea options. It leads along the vigorous River Brue and through bucolic pastures up to the wooded range forming the boundary between Wiltshire and Somerset, with the dominant local landmark Alfred’s Tower, a folly, on top of it. From there you drop down through enchanting woods to the heart of the Stourhead Estate at the source of the River Stour, with its breath-taking 18th century landscaped garden with lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples (National Trust, ticketed entry, although large parts of the garden and most notable buildings are visible from the walk route).
After lunch at the estate pub or an NT restaurant you circle back past the large Palladian mansion with views, then through a U-shaped grassy valley (by the source of the river Stour) and up through hanging woods to continue high above the Brue Valley with fine far views across the South Somerset landscape.
Towards the end the route passes the renowned art gallery
Hauser & Wirth Somerset with its fascinating bar and restaurant and an optional loop routes up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town.
The Don McCullin – The Stillness of Life  exhibition at Hauser has been extended due to Covid and is still open…

Walk Options:
An out-and-back  to the Bronze Age Bell Barrow site Jack’s Castle adds 550m.
A loop through the wooded Park Hill via its Iron Age hillfort site adds 900m.
A mid-afternoon loop through Walk Farm Hay Meadows, currently map-led, adds 1.6 km.
A loop at the end up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town past most tea places adds 1.5 km.

Lunch: The Spread Eagle Inn (11.0 km/6.8 mi, food to 19.00) or The Stourhead Estate Restaurant  (11.4 km/7.1 mi, food to 16.00), both on the Stourhead Estate.
Tea: Plenty options, including a Hauser & Wirth-managed pub just off route, 4.5 km from the end. See the webpage or the pdf for details.

For  walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.342

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Wednesday walk Liphook to Haslemere - Sussex Border path, Shulbrede Priory and its woods

Book 1, Walk 6 - Liphook to Haslemere

Length: 15 km (9.3 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

For those comfortable using public transport in these Covid times, your recommended train is:

London Waterloo: 09-45 hrs.  Portsmouth Harbour service; Clapham Junction 09-52; Woking 10-13 hrs
Arrive Liphook: 11-00 hrs

Return: Haslemere to Waterloo:  4 an hour at approx 02, 15, 32 and 37 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Liphook, Hants

Car drivers: Liphook is one stop down the line from Haslemere, so park up in either.

Today's walk starts in woods in Hampshire and stays in woods or along woodland trails for much of the morning as you head along undulating paths and tracks towards the village of Fernhurst, for lunch at the (usually) excellent and popular Red Lion pub, with pleasant outdoor seating if the weather permits.
After lunch you encounter bridleways which can be horribly muddy in winter, but - hopefully - firm and dry today as, now back in Surrey - you continue on your way to Haslemere, with its two tea shops (both good) and several pubs.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.6

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Wednesday walk Saunderton via Bledlow Circular - the rolling Chiltern Hills: Chinnor Hill and Bledlow Ridge

Book 2, Walk 2 - Saunderton via Bledlow Circular

Length: 17.3 km (10.7 miles ) (but with the afternoon hills, often seems longer)
Toughness: 6 out of 10.  Some good inclines after lunch - the morning 3 out of 10

This is a good walk for car drivers. Parking is available close to the railway station. For those comfortable using public transport, with its Covid rules, your recommended train is:

London Marylebone: 10-13 hrs.        Chiltern Railway's service to Aylesbury
Arrive Saunderton: 10-53 hrs

Return: 16-28, 17-25, 18-26 and 19-38 hrs

Since the resumption of our Wednesday walks all have been relatively flat, with only modest inclines. So today's walk will come as a bit of a shock, as the post lunch hills are humdingers - and will test the old quads !

But today's walk starts gently along a valley bottom  We then walk along a section of the Ridgeway, before continuing over fields and along field edges until we reach the village of Bledlow, for our lunch stop at the Lions pub, usually good and accommodating to walkers.

After lunch we encounter the first of the inclines as we head for the village of Radnage, with its interesting church: then it's a steep but short climb up onto Bledlow Ridge for a ridge walk before we drop down on clear paths over some vast agricultural fields, offering fine views, before we commence our homeward leg along field edges and over fields before returning to the starting point of today's walk. If you have time before your drive home or train home, I do recommend the Golden Cross pub just down from the station, for a post walk drink. The pub also serves nice puddings and good pub grub in generous sized portions for anyone peckish after today's exertions: you get a very enjoyable workout today.
Walk Directions are here:  L=2.2

Monday, 17 August 2020

Monday Walk - Hope to Hathersage or Bamford (via Castleton) [New Walk] [Hope Valley Trip]

Length: 27.0 km (16.8 mi) [shorter and longer versions possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 683/698m; Net Walking Time: ca. 7 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10

From Sheffield: take the 09.14 Manchester Piccadilly stopping service via the Hope Valley (Dore & Totley 09.21, Grindleford 09.29, Hathersage 09.32, Bamford 09.36), arriving Hope at 09.40.
From Manchester Piccadilly: take the 08.49 Sheffield stopping service via the Hope Valley (New Mills Central 09.17, Chinley 09.23, Edale 09.32), arriving Hope  at 09.38.
Return trains from Hathersage: xx.45/xx.46 until 19.46, then 21.47 and 23.15 towards Sheffield (from Bamford 4 mins earlier) and xx.32 towards Manchester (Bamford 4 mins later).

From/to London:  take the 08.02 train from St. Pancras to start an hour behind the group.
Return trains to London: xx.46 until 19.46 (change at Sheffield, just under 3 hours total journey time).
Cheap Advance Tickets from Sheffield are now available, from £18.50 w/o a Railcard.

“This route at the top of the scenic Hope Valley starts with a gentle loop through pastures between the Peak District's breath-taking limestone and gritstone landscapes with ever-changing views to the hills around. You head for the mysterious Mam Tor, before ascending its flank through the large landsliped area at its foot. A variation leads to the dramatic limestone gorge of Winnats Pass and past a couple of the show caves Castleton is famous for. A high-level traverse of pastures-with-views loops down to Castleton through the fascinating Cave Dale (a collapsed cave), past the Norman Castle ruins towering above it.
After lunch you pass the fascinating Hope Cement Works, which dominate the views from any hill walk in the area, pass through Bradwell and go steeply up to Bradwell Edge. The impossibly scenic Over Dale is skirted along its rim and Abney and Offerton Moor are crossed along good paths with surround views. The descent to the Derwent River offers yet more stunning views before a riverside finish to either Hathersage or Bamford.

Note: To protect ground nesting birds, only dogs kept “…under effective control on Public Rights of Way” are allowed on the Access Land of Abney Moor/Smelting Hill/Offerton Moor, until at least 04/2022.”

Walk Options:
A late starter  might want to – after 4.6 km – follow Hollowford Road for 300m into Castleton for lunch first, before continuing the route (see route map and text).
A Variation in the morning takes you past Speedwell Cavern, the bottom of Winnats Pass dry gorge and Treak Cliff Cavern, rather than past Odin Mine and through the active landslip of Mam Tor.
A Variation of that route leads up through the dramatic dry gorge of Winnats Pass to the side of the road.
Cut out the loop through Castleton Village and past its lunch stops: cut 750m.
An out-and-back in Castleton to Peak Cavern adds 500m.
Finish the walk in Castleton and take a bus back to Hope or Sheffield or Chesterfield (14.0 km/8.7 mi).
Finish the walk in Bradwell and take a bus back to Hope or Sheffield or Chesterfield (16.9 km/10.5 mi).
An Alternative Ending leads to Bamford Bus or Train Station, this is 800m shorter.
A Variation of the Hathersage Ending crosses the Derwent on Stepping Stones and leads to Jagger’s Lane and the heart of the village. This is almost 2 km less distance and even walking on to the station from the village would still be shorter than the main walk route (but with a lot more tarmac and road noise).

Lunch: plenty of options in Castleton (ca. 14 km into the walk) or in Bradwell (ca. 17 km from the start), see the pdf for details.
Tea: Plenty of options in Hathersage, see the pdf for details.

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.343

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Sunday Walk - A Village in Lockdown: Hathersage Circular via Bretton Clough and Eyam [Hope Valley Trip]

Length: 22.2 km (13.8 mi) [shorter version possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 614m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10 

From Sheffield: take the 09.14 Manchester Piccadilly stopping service via the Hope Valley (Dore & Totley 09.21, Grindleford 09.29), arriving Hathersage at 09.32.
From Manchester Piccadilly: take the 09.45 Sheffield stopping service via the Hope Valley (New Mills Central 10.13, Chinley 10.21, Edale 10.29, Hope 10.36, Bamford 10.39), arriving Hathersage at 10.43 (ie a good hour behind the other group).
Return trains from Bamford: 17.35 and 19.35 towards Manchester; 16.40, 18.40, 20.40 and 23.02 towards Sheffield. 
Return trains to London: 16.44, 17.31, 18.44, 19.31 and 20.44 (change at Sheffield or Manchester Piccadilly, from 3 hours 21 minutes total journey time).

Topical Lessons in the times of Covid-19: how a medieval village dealt with a localised outbreak of The Plague - through voluntary self-isolation!

“Centred on Hathersage, an attractive village in the Hope Valley surrounded by the ringed cliffs of the Stanage and Millstone edges as well as the ancient iron-age hill fort of Carl Wark and the distictive Higger Tor on Burbage Moor, this walks leads through some outstandingly beautiful scenery: delightful meadows with a jigsaw of drystone walls and other signs of small-scale livestock farming, rolling hills backed by open moorland and the deep wooded valleys of the Highlow Brook (one of the few remaining in the Peak District with the remains of ancient oakwoods) and the Bretton Clough with their fast flowing streams. You have magnificent views all day (weather permitting).
The middle part follows the geological fault line between the Dark and White Peak areas along the Eyam and Hucklow Edges with tremendous views into the Hope Valley and then descends through a wood into it, where you pass plenty of signs of its mining heritage: (now grassy) spoil heaps and fenced-off unstable ground suffering from subsidence.
You eventually reach the famous plague village of Eyam with its tea options. Rise up steeply from Eyam to cross the heathery blanket peat bog of Eyam Moor (along a clear path), and – after one last steep descent and partial re-ascent through a remote green valley – re-cross the Derwent River back into Hathersage”

Walk Options: 
A Shortcut  down from the Hucklow Edge to Foolow cuts out Great Hucklow, this cuts 2.2 km/1.3 mi and 61m ascent and the resulting walk is rated 8/10.
Buses from Great Hucklow, Foolow or Eyam to Sheffield or Hope enable a finish after 10.0 km/6.2 mi, 11.9 km/7.4 mi or 14.4 km/9.0 mi respectively: line 65 (Buxton to Sheffield Interchange, 7 buses Mondays to Saturdays and 3 on Sundays) and (from Foolow and Eyam only) line 66 (Baslow to Sheffield Interchange, 5 buses Mondays to Saturdays and 4 on Sundays) and (from Great Hucklow only) line 173 (Bakewell to Hope and Castleton, 4 buses per day).

Lunch: The Barrel Inn (7.3 km/4.5 mi, food to 15.00), The Queen Anne Inn (9.8 km/6.1 mi into the full walk, food served to 14.30), The Bull's Head  (11.8 km/7.4 mi into the full walk (9.6 km/6.1 mi if walking the shortcut), food all day).
Tea: Plenty of options in Eyam and Hathersage, see the pdf for details.

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile and gpx/kml files  click here. T=swc.315